Kneel Before Lincoln: The religion of government is rewriting history, hijacking beliefs and collecting a huge tithe

Originally Published In:

Fairfield County Weekly (2/5/09) Link

High Priest PresidentThis past Monday, Feb. 2, was an important day for the Northern Hemisphere. It wasn't quite the beginning of spring, but it was a time of change. It was the cross-quarter day, the halfway point between winter solstice and spring equinox. You might have felt it as a slightly lower case of the Monday blues. You might have found yourself whistling a tune. You might have had an extra little spring in your step. Perhaps unknowingly, you were celebrating Brigid's day.

Brigid was one of the earliest goddesses, revered by the Celtic druids. She was the goddess of poetry, healing and smithcraft — i.e., productivity. On Feb. 2, cross-quarter day, Brigid was celebrated at the Gaelic festival of Imbolc. Brigid's day was a time for observing the slow but sure signs of spring and rebirth.

Brigid was one of the most popular goddesses of Irish mythology — her name means "exalted one." So when Christianity swept through the region, in order to be accepted by the people, it had to incorporate Brigid. How about Saint Brigid? A nice quick fix. The Catholic festival of Candlemas (Feb. 2) was originally a feast in honor of Brigid.

It wasn't the only pagan holiday subsumed by the church and was not the first (nor last) time that a religion incorporated deeply held beliefs by a people into its own tapestry to let them feel like the transition was not such a big deal — perhaps even prophesied — and certainly quite righteous.

We have a similar situation here in America. Next Thursday, Feb. 12, we'll celebrate the birthday of Abraham Lincoln, a holiday in Connecticut and six other states and consolidated with George Washington's birthday for Presidents Day at a federal level on Feb. 16. We'll acknowledge Lincoln as a great thinker, great emancipator and great leader.

The truth is far different. Lincoln was the first president to impose an unconstitutional income tax. He vowed never to abolish slavery — the Emancipation Proclamation only freed slaves in those territories not part of the Union (where it had no effect). In other words, if you didn't secede, you could maintain slavery with President Lincoln's full blessing and support.

The Civil War seems like an inevitable and necessary war, but it begs the question: Why can't a state secede from a union it voluntarily joined?

If we in Connecticut decide to opt out of all federal programs, thus freeing ourselves from the burdensome regulations that come with them; if we threaten to withhold taxes from the federal government because we no longer rely on any of the programs; if we find the grip of the federal government is far larger than it should be — why can't we say, "Enough! We're out of here?"

There is a new religion sweeping the world, and it's following the same time-worn tricks. This new religion has no god but government. It worships obedience, altruism, sacrifice, community service and "the greater good."

Why do religions sweep across lands? Is it really because their missionaries so fervently believe the message and are such excellent persuaders? Or is it because it is the palliative of the sword, the hug after a punch, the pat on the back after a kick to the groin?

These religions take your money as tithes or taxes or whatever they call them, but don't have enough forces to go house to house to collect. They must rely on an enormous amount of voluntary obedience. How to inculcate that? Make it seem like it is the "right" thing to do. Lincoln died for your sins. The least you can do to revere him is to continue paying the income tax in his honor.

But these invaders are only co-opting our deepest traditions for their own purposes. Brigid's holiday itself had pre-Celtic origins hundreds, if not thousands, of years earlier, as can be seen in the construction of ancient passage tombs that line up perfectly with the rising Imbolc sun.

You had an extra spring in your step this Monday. That was real. But notice that you didn't have to pay or thank anybody for it: not Brigid, not the Catholic Church, not the government. You don't have to fall victim to the latest myth of a government-god.